Is Choosing to Study at College Instead of University the Better Option?May 28, 2012
In previous years the choice of where to study may have come down to who has the best night life, who offers the best degrees and in some cases (don’t try and deny it) the ratio of men to women, but with the rise in university tuition fees to £9,000 this year this is probably going to be the biggest deciding factor. Equally, with many colleges now offering the option of degree colleges, 1 in 8 students are now opting for a Further Education College as opposed to university.
The practicality of studying at a FE college is undeniable:
- Smaller classes with more one-on-one time available with tutors.
- Living at home whilst studying for your degree.
- Option of 2 year foundation degrees, which can often be done with learning on the job, before being topped up to a full degree in just a year.
- More flexibility to carry out courses alongside work.
- Many college degrees are certified by a local university.
- Cheaper option – many colleges intend to charge £6,000 or less per year, which can sometimes be funded by employers.
Obviously, there are some downsides to not going to university and this is primarily in the fact that you don’t get the ‘university buzz’ of living in the city, joining in with university activities, fresher’s week etc.
However, if you don’t think university is for you, it may also be a good idea to look into doing apprenticeships to gain valuable work experience whilst you’re studying. Apprenticeships are available in a wide variety of subjects from engineering to mechanics and childcare to accountancy. They involve more hands-on work, with you normally working around 4 days with just 1 day at college. The average pay is around £170 a week with qualifications available in foundation degrees, diplomas, higher national certificates and postgraduate courses.
To show you just how popular these apprenticeship schemes have become, in 2010 BT had 221 places for their apprenticeship scheme and had a whopping 24,000 applicants, which was more than the number of people who applied to Oxford University for their degree courses!